BEIJING, CHINA – Isabelle Weidemann won Team Canada’s first medal of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The Ottawa native won bronze in the women’s 3000m at the National Speed Skating Oval on Saturday.
Skating in the second last pairing, Weidemann executed her race strategy to perfection. While others before her had gotten off to a quick start and faded, Weidemann just kept building. With three laps to go, she was pacing for fifth place. But when she crossed the line, her time of 3:58.64 put her in first place, guaranteeing her a spot on the podium.
She then had to wait to see what colour medal she would be heading home with. In the final pairing, Irene Schouten of the Netherlands and Francesca Lollobrigida of Italy were both a little quicker. Schouten set the Olympic record for the 3000m with her time of 3:56.93 while Lollobrigida came through in 3:58.06 for the silver.
Schouten won gold in two of the three pre-Olympic 3000m World Cup races this season, while Lollobrigida was the victor in the other. Weidemann had won silver in two of those 3000m World Cup races. Those are among her seven career World Cup medals in the distance.
This is Weidemann’s first Olympic medal in her second Olympic appearance. She finished seventh in the 3000m at PyeongChang 2018. She placed fifth in the distance at the 2021 World Single Distances Championships.
Weidemann is the first female Canadian long track speed skater to win an Olympic medal since Vancouver 2010. Denny Morrison won Canada’s only two long track medals at Sochi 2014 while Ted-Jan Bloemen won both medals at PyeongChang 2018.
Weidemann’s podium performance will also have a place in Canadian history. It is the 200th medal Canada has won all-time at the Olympic Winter Games.
“It was a hard race for sure, I’m happy with how it went,” Weidemann said shortly after earning Team Canada’s first medal of Beijing 2022. The training that we’ve done the past weeks we’ve seen the ice has been quite slow, it’s sticky. So I wanted to start a little slower to be able to fight the last few laps. Because I thought if you start to break, there’s no bringing the speed back. I wanted to stay steady the whole time.”Isabelle Weidemann
“I was nervous for sure. But after I finished I knew that I had a medal. I was very overwhelmed, very emotional and very proud. I am excited to get the first one (first distance) out of the way. I was quite nervous for today. We have been here for a while now and I wanted to race for so long. I am happy and feel a little more at ease now. I am looking forward to the next few distances.”Isabelle Weidemann